Mr. Jones and Me
by Theresa Reichman
I had just puttered my ’99 Chevy Lumina up a substantial hill when I noticed the red “engine is hot” light illuminate my dashboard. As I glided into the turning lane at the crossroads of two high ways, everything went black and quiet. My car had died.
However, several trips to the shop later, the husband and I were convinced our little hand-me-down family car was going to pull through after all.
We were wrong.
I awoke one fine Monday morning to a text from the husband. He had just driven my car to the airport to embark on a two-week-long business trip. Upon reading his text –filled with several choice words – I realized that my car was in the doghouse. The poor husbie sputtered down the freeway at the breakneck pace of 40 miles per hour, having to stop every 20 minutes or so to let the ole girl take a breather. He missed his flight.
Now, with two children in diapers and a new mortgage to pay, I should never smile upon the thought of being in the market for a new car. But I have to admit: A little teensy, tiny part of me was jumping up and down saying “Yippie!” And by “teensy, tiny,” I mean every fiber of my being.
In my driving years, I’ve owned two vehicles. One was purchased from my grandmother – an ancient Mercury Topaz that kicked the proverbial bucket not even a year later – and the Lumina, given to me by my generous Pop upon my graduation from high school. But this would be the first time that I owned a car that was mine for the choosing.
After scouring several lots and being tempted by minivans with cool media features like portable DVD players for the kiddies – and my husband, apparently, as he chimed in that he no longer would require shotgun seating – we stumbled across a Kia.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: My husband has a little bit of car-bigotry in him. He hates Kias. I’ve known this for some time now, but baby, it was love at first sight. I saw that sleek black 2008 Kia Optima in the corner lot and when I heard the mileage and the price, I was sold.
This car was going to be my third baby. And Scot knew it. He was reluctant at first. He pointed out all of the other much cooler cars, and mumbled something about how I was lucky I was to be a mother because only a mom could pull off a Kia.
But me? I was on cloud nine. I even started thinking of names for my new baby. I turned to Scot and asked, “Do you think it looks like a boy car or a girl car?”
“It looks like a wimpy little boy.”
I rolled my eyes. Then I realized Counting Crows were playing on the radio. Mr. Jones and Me. And just like that… my car became Mr. Jones.
I felt a little sorry that I elbowed Scot out of the decision making so much. I mean, although it would be my car, he would be driving it too, and he would be the one making the payments.
But then one night Scot was going out with some of the guys and he meekly suggested, “Maybe I could take Mr. Jones with me?”
Yep. I think Mr. Jones is going to be a big star.